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Cult head, 71, molested girls, trial told

AAP, The Sydney Morning Herald,
Thursday 20 July 2000, 6:31 PM

A 71-year-old man, described as the guru of a religious cult who collected a harem of nine 'wives', today went on trial on charges of molesting four girls aged between seven and 10.

Crown prosecutor George Slim said the accused man, Alistah (Alistah) Laishkochav (Laishkochav) had drawn followers who were attracted to his professed 'spiritual powers'.

The New Zealand-born man became a guru leading a cult devoted to beliefs he had set down and based on Jewish, Muslim and Hawaiian sources, said Mr Slim.

The girls were assaulted by Laishkochav at the cult's property at Bells Beach, near Geelong, between 1987 and 1991, Mr Slim said.

Laishkochav has pleaded not guilty to 22 charges, including sexual penetration and indecent assault.

Mr Slim told the jury Laishkochav was the leader or boss of the group and made the decision over 'which woman belonged to which man'.

He said the cult had started out at Goulburn, in New South Wales, where Laishkochav 'collected a harem of nine wives'.

The group later moved to a 10-acre site at Bells Beach where the 'family' grew to 62 children.'

Laishkochav himself had fathered a large number of children.

One of the alleged victims, now 18, told the court she was aged between seven and nine when Laishkochav molested her 'every other day'.

She said she was originally from Western Australia and had been left at the Bells Beach home by her divorced father.

On one occasion, she said, Laishkochav had told her that what had happened was a secret and that if she told anyone his God would punish her.

The trial, before Judge Mervyn Kimm, is continuing.